Striker Still a Position of Need for Orlando City

The Lions will need another striker sooner or later, thanks to the Duncan McGuire saga.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Duncan McGuire mess is still just that. No one knows where the young striker is going to end up after it is all said and done. But, the reality is that in some ways it doesn’t matter what happens because Orlando City will still need to add another striker if they want to be a contender.

There are only two real scenarios to play out so let’s look at what may happen and what needs to happen in each.

No more Duncan

If McGuire’s dreams come true and he gets to play for Blackburn Rovers FC — someone should have told him to dream bigger — then Orlando City will need another striker. Yes, the club is signing Luis Muriel from Atalanta to what is reported to be a Designated Player contract. That still leaves the Lions with Ramiro Enrique and Jack Lynn in the second and third spots at striker. I like both of them, but I don’t have faith Orlando City wins hardware if they are the only backups.

We have said on The Mane Land PawedCast many times back before the McGuire saga began that Orlando City needed another striker to be the back up or even challenge for the starting position. That is still the case if McGuire is gone and Muriel is the starter. Oscar Pareja is not afraid to let a DP sit the bench if the other option has the hot foot. We know that all too well.

Duncan Returns

Orlando City told McGuire when all the deals were falling apart that the club would welcome him back with open arms. That will still be the case if he does end up coming back now. The Lions certainly want to have their top striker from last season scoring goals in 2024. Of course, the question remains what sort of mindset the youngster will be in. Disappointment can impact play — remember Chris Mueller’s last season with Orlando City?

Let’s be positive and assume he has the right frame of mind and is scoring plenty of goals in purple. There’s almost no way he isn’t gone come the summer transfer window, especially if he’s playing well. That means that regardless of whether he comes back or not, Orlando City needs to be securing another striker to either back up or challenge Luis Muriel for the starting spot after McGuire departs. As I wrote above, the Lions will need more than just Muriel if they are to challenge for trophies.

I don’t believe any of us wanted McGuire to leave. We expected it to happen after this season if his form continued, or maybe even as soon as the summer transfer window, but only he and his manager thought it might happen sooner. If he had stayed and helped Orlando City to win a trophy, he would have been a legend at this club. Now, that is unlikely.

People will talk about and write about this entire transfer drama for years to come. I hate that McGuire is going to be the cautionary tale told to young players looking to head to Europe from MLS, but that is probably just how it’s going to be at this point. Ultimately, I wish him well, but I’m now actively rooting against Blackburn for their shenanigans and I invite their beleaguered fan base to become supporters of a well-managed Orlando City club.


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